The most historic synagogue in the Mountain West sits not in any big city but on a quiet street in the small town of Trinidad, Colorado. Trinidad is about 200 miles south of Denver and 15 miles north of the New Mexico border. There have been Jews in Trinidad since at least the 1860’s and it first mayor, Sam Jaffa, was Jewish. The congregation was formed in 1883; the magnificent synagogue was built in 1889 and so is now almost 130 years old. The building has been recognized as an historic asset by both History Colorado and Colorado Preservation, the two most important historic preservation groups in our state.
For generations, a small but resilient Jewish community thrived in Trinidad and the surrounding areas of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. One of the sons of Temple Aaron’s last rabbi endowed the congregation in the 1940s, and those funds lasted until 2016, when the painful decision was made to close the synagogue, at least temporarily.
Now, a small but dedicated group of individuals is working to keep Temple Aaron in Jewish hands, raise funds to maintain, repair, and endow the building, create a 21st century congregation with members from Boulder to Albuquerque and beyond, and hold regularly scheduled religious and secular events. In 2017, we held a Seder and a Sukkot party at Temple Aaron and also made a presentation at the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society’s annual conference. We have just started a gofundme campaign – see the link below – and have received a $10,000 matching grant from Mr. Larry Mizel if we can raise $35,000 from the community. A website and social media campaign are in the works as well.
Our Jewish history is worth saving!!! We need all of the financial and moral support we can get. If you are interested in joining our efforts, please contact David London at 303.818.3124 or Randy Rubin at 575.707.2752. If we sit on our hands, one of the oldest and most unique synagogues west of the Mississippi will crumble to the ground. If we act together, we can preserve it and keep the memory of our pioneering Jewish forebears alive for generations to come.
To make a donation, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/temple-aaron-preservation.
All donations of any size are most welcome and most appreciated. Thank you!!